After taking a few warm-up laps, I felt that I would have a great advantage, as a LOT of it was singletrack which is just my cup of tea. Just one hill climb (nice) and great technical stuff that is right up a MTBer's alley.
Again, the game plan was to find a position, and simply try my best to hold it there for the rest of the race... easy, right? I had a great mid-pack position and didn't feel a whole lot of guys could get me on the singletrack - I felt like a kid in a candy store. Unfortunately, fate would have it that I was TOO confident and crashed on the first lap. It was a hot downhill singletrack into a very loose sharp right. The crash was padded from the bushes, but I lost my position nonetheless.
Curse words filled the air as I felt a good ten riders go by me. Being a good group of guys, I heard a lot of "Are you alright?" - and gasping for air at this point, I pulled my bike out of the trees and got going again.
It was a lot of work to get a decent position, and I know I was in last place for awhile. I felt strong today, so I was able to knock a few guys off the back end chase one other rider. He was a little faster on the hill climb (something I will be working on seriously from now on) and I fell back on that. Suddenly, I got flashbacks to my motorcycle racing days and I started to watch the guy I was chasing for mistakes. Again, with the BMX background, I gained a LOT of time on a log barrier, which I easily bunnyhopped while others were dismounting to get over it.
I noticed that he was double apex'ing a turn, which was actually just one big turn - and BOOYAH! passed him on the inside. I blocked his pass all the way to the finish line and I felt victory. I finished 23rd out of 27, which could've been better but, oh well... :)
Now, to my brother's race.
What went down in my brother's race bothered me a lot. Yes, he got very injured... but what really bothered me is that his goal was to break top 5 in points and today was his day. I mentioned earlier that there was a lot of singletrack - and I was confident that he would SMOKE the roadie guys. The course was fast and perfect for those of us who ride MTB's.
The whistle for the 35+ Mens B class blew and my brother was right in there. Not 10 yards from the start, a bigger rider nudge through the traffic and clipped and dragged him down into the gravel and (ouch) sliding. He got up RIGHT away, noticed that his front tire tore off (tubulars) and walked away in disappointment. I knew that emotions were running high - and I could definitely feel the wrenching in his heart.
For those who have never raced (or haven't done any athletic competition) - there is something about pouring your heart, mind, soul, time, wrench time and dollars into this passion - and to have it stripped away tears you apart.
My brother was pretty well beat up. He had a HUGE gash in his elbow, road rash on his knee and forearm, a busted up jersey, a busted up bike and big time disappointment. I think, through the pain, he reflected a little and sent me this e-mail later in the day:
Today's race was unfortunate for me but my feeling is nobody is at fault and that is because it is a bicycle race and these sort of things happen. Bicycle racing is a risk and in order to experience it you must be able to accept these type of incidents. You might mis-judge a turn or like in my scenario a guy clipped my wheel at the start and this resulted in a crash, and a high speed crash at that in gravel. I just hope that I heal quick and that I can resume my training. At this time my arm is in pretty bad shape with a big abrasion and what the medics called a hole that cannot be stitched up. I am having a hard time bending my elbow. I also have abrasions and both my shoulders and legs and hip but it is my arm that concerns me. No broken bones thank goodness. Bike wise a messed up front wheel, a tear in the sidewall of my tire which resulted in a flat, and some scrapes on both sides of my brakes.
Again, it was unfortunate but it was worth what could of been. And that would be another great day of racing and a finished race. I am looking forward to next week at Toro park!
Anyhow, we have two more weekends and then it's break time, returning in November. Here are some pics from today.
A little knee scuff. My brother before the disaster. My old friend, Justin Robinson making the "A" class look easy.